According to studio estimates, Pixels earned $24 million from 3,723 locations this weekend. That was not enough to knock Ant-Man out of first place, denying Sony their last chance to salvage something positive from Pixels’ debut. Not long ago, Pixels was expected to open in the $50 million range. As the film’s word of mouth became more and more toxic, however, Sony was quick to scale back expectations with a projection of $25 million. That’s about where Pixels wound up, though for a movie that cost $88 million there’s just no way to put a positive spin on that number. Pixels now joins a select class of 2015 summer box office misfires that includes Tomorrowland and Terminator: Genisys.
Without being able to market Pixels as “the number one film in America,” the one hope Sony can cling to now is a good showing on the international market. Terminator: Genisys may have stalled in North America, but the film’s worldwide take already tops $305 million thanks to international sales. Clearly, Adam Sandler cannot rival the Terminator franchise in terms of global appeal, but the comedian has done well with recent international releases. Last summer’s domestic flop Blended brought in $80 million overseas (compared to $46 million in North America) and Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2 each topped $100 million in international grosses. Assuming Pixels’ videogame graphics help it stand out in an already crowded marketplace, it still has a chance to make up for its domestic shortcomings.
With an estimated $24.8 million in its sophomore frame, Ant-Man remained in first place this weekend: thanks Pixels! The tiniest Marvel superhero was down 57% from his debut one week ago, which is in the average range for a Marvel Cinematic Universe release. Ant-Man also made it past $100 million on Sunday, its tenth day in theatres. That puts it 9% ahead of 2008’s The Incredible Hulk at the same point in its domestic run. Worldwide, Ant-Man has earned over $226.4 million.
Universal had this weekend’s third and fourth highest-grossing films with Minions and Trainwreck. Minions remained strong on its third weekend in theatres with a domestic total of $261.6 million and an impressive $759.4 million in global earnings. The Amy Schumer/Judd Apatow comedy Trainwreck was down just 42% in its second frame, giving it a ten-day domestic total of $61.5 million.
The Weinstein Co.’s Southpaw opened in fifth place with an estimated $16.5 million from 2,772 locations. Prior to its release on Friday, the R-rated boxing drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal had a high-end projection of $15 million for its debut frame. The fact that it beat expectations already qualifies Southpaw as a runaway hit compared to its fellow new releases.
The last of those releases was the teen drama Paper Towns, distributed by Fox. Based on the novel by John Green (author of teen drama blockbuster The Fault in Our Stars), Paper Towns was also expected to bring in $15 million this weekend. Instead it earned an estimated $12.5 million from 3,031 locations, or a per-screen average of $4,124. That seems disappointing until you realize that Paper Towns was budgeted at just $12 million. Adding in the $16 million it’s earned from international theatres, Paper Towns is already successful – financially speaking.
Of course, there’s no greater success this summer than Jurassic World. Earlier this week, the Universal blockbuster overtook Marvel’s The Avengers to become the third highest-grossing release of all time at the worldwide box office. Avatar and Titanic remain in first and second place, respectively.
Total box office earnings were down slightly over the same frame in 2014, when director Luc Besson’s Lucy became a surprise hit with a debut of $43.8 million. Next weekend brings Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, which is expected to earn at least $75 million. Considering the goodwill engendered by the last M:I release (2011’s Ghost Protocol) that projection may be on the low side. Then again, some of us thought that Pixels was going to hit $50 million this weekend so a bit more caution is hopefully understandable.